Thursday, June 29, 2006

"50-State Strategy: Washington - Meet Darcy Burner"

From the DNC (the whole thing):

I talked with Darcy Burner early this morning. Darcy is running for Congress in Washington's 8th Congressional District. She called me before the sun rose in her part of the country, so I knew right off the bat that she is running to win. We immediately started chatting about the blogosphere and the netroots, as she has been chosen as one of a handful of netroots candidates this cycle. Darcy had nothing but praise for the bloggers and blogosphere saying:

I am very very fortunate to have such an active and on top of things local blogosphere that are working to do what they can to help us win. We might just have the best local netroots community in the country. There are a huge number of people doing blogging on a regular basis. The quality of information is exceptional. They interact with each other so it is a community, and they have built all of it themselves. It's pretty amazing.
I didn’t know much about Darcy before we started chatting. I knew three things: that she used to work for Microsoft, that she was a new Mom and that she was running for Congress. So I asked her what made her decide to run.

Well after my son was born, I did what a lot of new parents do; I took a step back and said how do I give this helpless little creature the best possible world? I asked the normal questions everyone asks, ‘What do I feed him?’, ‘What school should he go to’? ‘Does he need a nap?’. I was responsible for giving him a better life and the more I looked at it there was no way to give him the kind of life I wanted him to have by just my individual decisions.
Our country was headed so much in the wrong direction that I decided we had to chance the direction of the country. So then the question becomes, ‘How do we change the direction of the country?’ and I came to the conclusion that I had to give 100 percent of myself to make it happen. I knew we had to take back the House and that we needed 15 seats to do it and I believe it is going to take Washington State to make that happen. This is a critical junction and something I can do to make a difference.

It should be noted that by this time in the conversation she’s won me over. Now of course, I’m biased towards her already – she’s a young female Democrat running for office. (What’s not to admire?!?) I asked her what is was like being a first-time candidate and how she started off her campaign.

This is the 1st time I've run for office. I've done local things of course, I was the President of my local Homeowners Association and I was involved in community organizations. I ran the women’s organization at Microsoft, but this is the first time I’ve ran for political office I started laying the groundwork after the 2004 elections. I had left Microsoft in Fall of 2004 knowing I was going to do whatever I could to change the direction of this country.
In January of 2005 I started talking to people about the feasibility of running for office. Six months later in June of 2005 I filed to run for Congress and I have been campaigning full time ever since.
I have been fortunate to have been given terrific advice at every state of the game. Early on a former Seattle Council Woman, Sue Donaldson, told me that the learning curve for this was huge, that I needed to hire a professional who knows what they are doing very early. I did that and it was a profoundly good piece of advice. A year later we have assembled a terrific team. I think we have the best campaign team in the entire country, but I may be biased.

Most of the interviews I’ve done with candidates have been with candidates running in places that most would consider “red” states or districts. I didn’t think of Washington that way, maybe because they birth the progressive meeting haven Starbucks, who knows. But I wanted to know more about the district she wanted to represent and the people, specifically the Democrats, who live there.

The 8th is a District that went for Clinton, Gore and Kerry. At this point more than half the state legislators are Democrats. It's a district that is particularly willing to elect Dems. For a longtime there a Republican incumbent in office, but she retired before 2004. Last time around the race was pretty close.
The Democrats locally are very engaged in doing what they can to try and take back the Congress this year. That means mostly two things - one of those things means electing me. The other is helping make sure Maria Cantwell returns to the Senate. There is also increasing interest in 2 other districts in Washington State, both Republican incumbents are being challenged by Democrats, but those are tougher Districts, but if we have a big enough wave it is entirely possible we will send more than one Democrat to the House from Washington State.

I asked Darcy to share 3 things that we wouldn’t know from reading her lit pieces or her website. You may not know that:

She is a complete “book-o-holic”:

My husband laughs at me and thinks I should seek treatment. In every house we have lived in we built in floor-to-ceiling bookcases and filled them up. I love reading but don't have time to do it these days.

She knows how to rock:

I am an amateur musician. I play piano, guitar, bass, and the drums. I don't have time for that these days either. When my husband and I were first dating we played together in a rock band. I'm not saying it was a great rock band, but it was fun.

She also knows how to find a bargain online:

In my campaign office we have tons of phone lines coming into the office. Most campaigns can’t afford fancy and expensive phone system, so they make due with what they can find. I knew we should install PBX system, so I went to eBay and got a system for a few hundred dollars. After the end of last quarter I installed it myself. I'm a fan of eBay for campaign purchases. We purchased our really nice copier off eBay for a fraction of the price. It's the geek approach to life.

Darcy Burner is turning heads and picking up major steam. A week ago EMILY'S List endorsed her. Her Rubberstamp Republican opponent has been lagging behind so badly he needed President Bush to make an emergency visit to help him fundraise before the end of the quarter. Darcy Burner is the real deal, she's on her way to Congress and Washington is lucky to have her.

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